Gareth Southgate has defended his selection of Harry Maguire for the friendlies and insisted that the defender is capable of performing at the highest level. The Manchester United captain has come under criticism for his performances in the Premier League with many questioning whether he deserved a place in the England squad. Maguire was a key part of the World Cup semi-final and Euros final runs.
“He has got us to a World Cup semi-final and a European Championship final so there’s no doubt he’s more than capable of playing at the highest level,” Gareth Southgate said about Harry Maguire. “He was very good for us in the autumn. The club [Manchester United] is in a difficult moment – there could be any number of reasons for that – so that doesn’t mean that players can be poor for a couple of years and then still find their way in, and sometimes it depends on the competition for positions. We’ve obviously had some forward players out who haven’t been in good form but there are direct, experienced replacements for those players, so it is a complicated decision.”
“In terms of selection, that’s always a difficult conundrum because we’ve got players who we know have performed well in an England shirt,” he added. “There’s got to be some level of scrutiny on how people are playing with their clubs because that’s got to be a factor within it and then who’s the opponent and who’s best-suited to play against the opponent. It is a complicated thing and I know everybody has a view on who we should and shouldn’t be picking. In the end, we need the best players possible playing at their best level to give ourselves the best chance of winning.”